NO to Regulation of Private Education

The way to prevent rising tuition fees in private educational institutes is not by regulating them but by raising the quality of public education.

Monday, September 26, 2016


It is a market issue. If the public education systems performs poorly, as is a general trend in Central America, it is obvious that private institutions, in many cases companies that have a legitimate desire for profit, will emerge in order to meet the demands of parents who want better education for their children.

In Panama, a bill seeks to establish, in the name of solidarity, controls by parents - the paying customers - on increases in enrollment fees in private educational institutes. The project is also proposing rules on the use of study materials and school uniforms.

It is remarkable how, in their inability to correct the serious problems in public education, some governments are trying to interfere in the private sphere, ignoring basic market laws, the violation of which may threaten the existence of the only method which families have to provide their children with formal education.

In this regard the National Union of Private Educational Centers (Uncep) of Panama, said: 

"Attempts to regulate through projects which have not received consultation and are unrelated to the reality of this particular industry endanger the viability and permanence of private schools that serve the country's middle and lower middle classes, turning private schools attended by these classes into a kind of endangered species and causing mass migration to already overcrowded official schools, to the detriment of the already affected education which is provided there. Those private schools that are able to survive will probably succeed, sacrificing quality, which harms all Panamanians."

See also statement on the subject made by the Panamanian Association of Business Executives (APEDE)

More on this topic

The Impact of the Crisis on the Education Business

October 2020

Due to the economic crisis generated by the covid-19 outbreak, it is estimated that between 10% and 12% of students in private institutions in Costa Rica have stopped demanding the services, and tuition fees have gone down.

When the first cases were detected in the country in March, the authorities began to decree restrictions on mobility and productive activities, a situation that generated a severe economic crisis.

Education, Crisis and Radical Changes

July 2020

The health and economic crisis has forced private schools and universities in Central American countries to cut back on staff, invest in platforms for virtual classes, offer payment facilities and increase their presence in the digital environment.

Because of the spread of covid-19, in most countries in the region, face-to-face classes at all educational levels have been suspended since mid-March 2020.

Private Schools Can Not Increase Fees

July 2012

For the past three years in El Salvador private educational institutions recognized as for-profit companies have not been able to update tuition fees.

The president of the Association of Private Schools in El Salvador (ACPES), Javier Hernandez, said in an interview with the media that they are requesting that the National Assembly issue a decree permitting an increase in tuition.

The Education Industry in Costa Rica

July 2012

Company managers who consistently lose customers are fired. If the organization is the Ministry of Education, the minister gets re-elected to office.

From 2006 to 2012, fees for private schools in Costa Rica have doubled.


An article in reports that in Costa Rica, from 2006 to 2012, the monthly prices for preschool, primary and secondary private schools has doubled, and then goes on to outline the various reasons on the subject put forward by different personalities consulted, from the Education Minister Leonardo Garnier to Genis Michael Murray, president of the Association of Private Schools.

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